The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the use of a new “abuse icon” on their website, Nursing Home Compare, last year in October. Visitors to the site will now see a red circle with an open palm on the pages for facilities that have been cited for abuse, neglect, or exploitation within the last year that led to actual harm of a resident, or have been cited in each of the previous two years for abuse that could have potentially led to the harm of a resident.
Additionally, facilities that receive an abuse icon will have their overall CMS star rating limited to a maximum of four stars, and their health inspection rating limited to a maximum of two stars. This new abuse icon comes after a string of nursing home quality and safety improvements, such as CMS implementing more rigorous standards for its nursing home five-star rating system. Making this information more readily available can help consumers make a more informed decision on where to place a loved one for care.
The changes also aim to incentivize continuous and sustainable improvement in quality of care at skilled nursing facilities around the country. If a consumer comes across the abuse icon, CMS is urging them to reach out and talk to the administrator of the facility and other staff members about what they are doing to keep the residents safe from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation.
While it is important to identify nursing homes with a history of abuse, visitors to the site should know that the lack of an abuse icon does not necessarily mean that abuse, neglect, or mistreatment is not present. Inspections often miss problems, and citations under other tags may be excluded from the new CMS initiative. Therefore, it is imperative to remain vigilant in monitoring the care that you or a loved one are receiving at any nursing facility.
Protecting the Elderly & Their Families
When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you put your trust in the staff to take care of their needs and wants, so when something happens to break that trust, it can be devastating. No one should have to suffer and be taken advantage of because of their age or ongoing health problems. If you feel that you or a loved one have been a victim of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation, it is imperative that you contact the attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP. Victims are often unaware that attorneys can hold facilities accountable for mistreatment, and there is no out of pocket cost to you unless we recover. Our medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience in holding nursing homes responsible for their negligence.
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, call our caring attorneys today at (866) 380-2281, or contact us online. Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP is devoted to giving a voice to the vulnerable and injured.